Family Christian provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Normally, I fly through books. Granted, my normal reading is fiction as opposed to non-fiction, but every once in a while, I’ll pick up a non-fiction book. Oftentimes non-fiction takes me longer to get through. Not because I’m not interested, but because the information needs to be digested. Searching for Sunday was exactly one of those books (see those blue sticky notes in the above pictures? Those were the comments that stuck with me. The ones that required further reflection).
In her book, Held Evans explores the dynamic of the church and why there is less interest today than ever before. Throughout the book she shares her own experiences as well as those of friends and readers of her blog. While surrounding her stories around the church’s sacraments (baptism, confession, holy orders, communion, confirmation, anointing of the sick, and marriage), the author delves into what the true church should look like, her personal doubts and struggles, and the times she’s glimpsed God’s design for His church. With humility, grace, and sometimes humor, the author delves deep into what’s wrong with the church and what needs to change. The book isn’t limited to one specific church or denomination. She explores the traditions of Catholicism, Evangelicals, Protestants, and more. In a word, no one is safe.
This book was powerful and thought-provoking. I’ve been in some of the dark places mentioned in the book—doubting the church, wondering what’s wrong, leaving a church when they’ve made me feel as if I weren’t a part. Within the first few pages, I read a comment about churches that has been my complaint for years. As a forty-two-year old single woman, I am often made to feel less in churches that focus all of their sermons, programs, and special events around marriages and families. When a church doesn’t even have a place for me to plug in with others who are in the same stage of life as me, it’s hard to connect with the body as a whole. Yet, I would miss the fellowship of worshiping with others, of coming together every week and sharing life. And at the same time, as Held Evans points out, church isn’t limited to a building, church is all around us. She writes:
“We expect a trumpet and a triumphant entry, but as always, God surprises us by showing up in ordinary things: in bread, in wine, in water, in words, in sickness, in healing, in death, in a manger of hay, in a mother’s womb, in an empty tomb. Church isn’t some community you join or some place you arrive. Church is what happens when someone taps you on the shoulder and whispers in your ear, Pay attention, this his holy ground; God is here.”
Are you struggling with the church? Perhaps you know of someone who could use some encouragement. Searching for Sunday is available at your local Family Christian store or online. Enter to win a copy of Searching for Sunday from Family Christian (valid in the US only).